They are our visionaries, our elected officials, our mentors. They lead capital campaigns, advocate for the underserved, serve on our boards and speak out against injustice. They are leaders who have served our community in countless ways, large and small, for 30 years. And much of the legacy they have created is thanks in part to Leadership Stark County.

Starting in January and continuing through this issue, we are celebrating Leadership Stark County’s milestone anniversary by recognizing 30 of Leadership’s graduates in the pages of About. These “30 Faces of Leadership” typify all of the 1,200 Leadership Stark County graduates who are living the mission of commitment to our community. Read on for first-person accounts of how Leadership Stark County has helped this fifth collection of graduates prosper through the personal and professional development the program offers.

Christopher L. Cugini

Marketing Coordinator, Purple Heart Foundation
Government Academy 2010
Since graduating, I was able to take the lessons and apply them to all of my work. It helped me to be a more forward-thinking individual in my work with Drug Free Stark County. It helped me to more carefully pay attention to detail in fundraising for the Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter.

Robert Roland

Partner, Day Ketterer Ltd.
Signature Program, 5th Class
Few people recall that it was my Leadership class project that began Light Up Downtown. We organized a few of the larger downtown businesses to serve cookies and hot chocolate, and we brought in a Santa Claus for the kids. That very modest and informal affair led directly to the extravaganza that now takes place every year. The point is that we learned how to take an idea from conception to reality in the context of a committee. It is that skill that has served me well in life and allowed me to implement change and make a difference.

Gloria J. Pope

Community Trustee, Retired
Signature Program, 13th Class
It has broadened my perspective of Stark County and created a wonderful network of friends. Most of all, it has provided a smorgasbord of opportunities to get involved within the community. I have met some good people with the common goal of working together to keep our communities healthy and strong.

Philip Francis

Vice President and Trust Officer, Huntington National Bank
Signature Program, 8th Class
My Leadership Stark County experience has made me a better community member, employee and volunteer by showing me the importance of leadership. Saying, doing and advocating the right thing isn’t always easy but it is what a leader does every day.

Alan Harold

Stark County Auditor
Signature Program, 23rd Class and Government Academy 2007
I always thought I knew our county—its people and places—well. Leadership Stark County more fully engaged me with parts of our community I was not aware of. My office is a resource for so many, and the relationships built through Leadership Stark County have helped me be more effective.

Kathleen Carr Poporad

Community volunteer, retired
Signature Program, 3rd Class
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the founding board, staff and volunteer faculty for their vision, expertise and dedication in creating a program which “created leaders who create leaders, who create leaders …” Many doors have been opened to me in both community service and career opportunities as a result of my Leadership Stark County training. Congratulations on 30 years!

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